Your Guide to Studying in the UK: Tips and Insights
Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom comprises England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Second only to the US, in terms of popularity, the UK offers high-quality teaching and a different array of programs to choose from.
The UK has some of the world’s finest institutions, which offer education of the highest standard. The education system is flexible, allowing students to combine different types of courses according to their needs and abilities. The range of specializations available enables a student to pursue a course that suits his interests and ambitions.
Specializations can be pursued in fields ranging from computer games programming to marine engineering, satellite positioning technology to hotel management, sound engineering to multi-media design, cross-cultural psychology to anthropology, etc.
According to statistics provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), there were 3, 10,190 international non-EU students in the UK in 2013-14. China leads the way with 87,895 students, followed by India with 19,750 students.
Business/Administrative studies were the most popular field of study, with 38.7% of international students enrolling in these courses. This was followed by courses in Engineering & Technology (32.7%) and Law (25%).
Data Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) First Statistical Release and the publication ‘Students in Higher Education 2013-14’.
Undergraduate degrees take three years to complete and postgraduate courses last for one year, as compared to the four and two years in other countries. The courses are shorter, more intensive, and more economical (in terms of both university fees and living costs).
Undergraduate students can also take up an optional placement year called ‘Sandwich’ year in their third year. The Sandwich year is a great opportunity to gain practical experience related to the student’s field of study. In the fourth year, the student will return to the respective university to complete their degree program.
Generally, British universities do not require an entrance test for undergraduate studies. A GMAT score may be needed for certain postgraduate programs. However, students will need to prove that they are proficient in English through IELTS or TOEFL, irrespective of the program and level of study they are planning to pursue. Supplementary documents may include a personal statement, academic transcripts, and reference letters.
A centralized application service called the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), manages and processes all undergraduate applications in the UK. Postgraduate applications are generally submitted directly to the university, except a few which are submitted through UKPASS (UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service).
Undergraduate fees may range between £ 15,000 and £ 18,000 per year approximately. The fee for Masters Programs will be between £ 22,000 and £ 30,000. Tuition fees for MBA programs may be in the range of £ 28,000 to £ 32,000 annually. The fees will vary according to the university and subject chosen. Living costs may be between £ 7,200 and £ 9,000 per academic year.
International students can apply for financial assistance, but the eligibility criteria may vary between universities. A scholarship/ financial aid application will generally be selected on the basis of a student’s academic record and will cover course fees, and not travel and personal expenses.
There is so much to see and do in the UK: world-renowned tourist attractions, vibrant cities, breathtaking countryside, and pulsating nightlife. It also has a lot to offer foreign students with its prestigious qualifications, advanced research systems, first-class amenities, and a diverse multicultural environment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to studying in the UK
Q1: Why should I consider studying in the UK?
A1: Studying in the UK offers access to world-renowned universities, diverse cultural experiences, a wide range of courses, and the opportunity to develop a global network of contacts.
Q2: What are the basic requirements for international students to study in the UK?
A2: Requirements vary by university and program but generally include academic qualifications, English language proficiency (usually IELTS or TOEFL scores), and a valid student visa.
Q3: How do I apply for admission to UK universities?
A3: To apply, you typically need to choose a course, complete the university’s application form, provide the required documents, and pay an application fee. The process may vary between institutions.
Q4: Are there scholarships available for international students in the UK?
A4: Yes, there are numerous scholarships, grants, and financial aid options available for international students. These can be offered by universities, governments, and private organizations.
Q5: What is the cost of studying in the UK for international students?
A5: Tuition fees and living expenses vary, but the UK offers a wide range of options. Costs can be higher in London but are generally lower in other parts of the country.
Q6: Can I work while studying in the UK as an international student?
A6: Yes, many international students are allowed to work part-time during their studies and full-time during scheduled breaks. Check your visa regulations for specific details.
Q7: How can I find accommodation while studying in the UK?
A7: Universities often offer student housing options. You can also explore private accommodations, such as shared houses or apartments. Start your search early to secure the best options.
Q8: What is student life like in the UK?
A8: Student life in the UK is vibrant and diverse. You’ll have opportunities to engage in various clubs, societies, cultural activities, and sports, making it a well-rounded experience.
Q9: How can I make the most of my academic journey in the UK?
A9: Make use of academic support services, engage with professors, participate in extracurricular activities, and explore the rich cultural offerings in the UK to enrich your experience.
Q10: What are the benefits of studying in the UK for international students?
A10: Benefits include access to high-quality education, a diverse and inclusive environment, cultural enrichment, improved career prospects, and a chance to experience life in a different country.
Q11: What should I do if I have questions or need support while studying in the UK?
A11: Universities offer extensive support services, including academic advising, counseling, and international student offices, to assist you throughout your journey.